Food Hygiene and Safety

What are the 7 HACCP Principles? – Detailed Analysis

Ricky Kambray
Ricky Kambray

Picture this – you’re at your favourite restaurant and just ordered your favourite dish. As you eagerly await your meal, you can’t help but wonder – what measures are in place to ensure that the food you’re about to consume is safe and free from dangerous contaminants? That’s where the 7 HACCP principles come in.

HACCP, or Hazard Analysis and Critical Control Points, is a system that food producers use to ensure their products are safe for consumers. By following the 7 HACCP principles, food producers can identify potential hazards in the food production process and take steps to prevent them.

In this blog, we’ll dive into these seven principles and explore how they help ensure the food’s safety. Whether you’re a food producer or a consumer, understanding HACCP is essential for keeping food safe and protecting public health. 

So let’s get started and learn more about these principles!

Text HACCP hazard analysis critical control point writing


What is a HACCP?

HACCP is a system that helps ensure our food is safe. It’s used by everyone who works with food, like farmers, cooks, and food manufacturers. It identifies possible hazards or things that could make people sick at each step of the food production process. These hazards can include things like bacteria, chemicals, or physical objects.

HACCP was initially developed in the 1960s for the US space program. Its success led to its adoption in the food industry, and in 1993, the USDA made it mandatory for meat and poultry producers in the US. Today, it’s an international standard for food safety management systems.

The HACCP system involves seven principles that must be followed to control and manage food safety hazards effectively. These 7 HACCP principles include —

Inducting a hazard analysis
Identifying critical control points (CCPs)
Establishing critical limits
Implementing monitoring procedures
Implementing corrective actions if a CCP is out of control
Establishing verification procedures
and Maintaining documentation and records

Importance of HACCP Principles

The importance of HACCP principles cannot be overstated. These are critical tools for protecting public health and ensuring that our food is safe and high-quality.

Protecting Public Health

The HACCP principles were developed to take preventive measures against the occurrence of foodborne hazards and to protect consumers from harm. By implementing these principles, food businesses can help ensure that their products are safe and free from harmful contaminants.

Legal Compliance

Compliance with food safety laws, such as the Food Safety Act 1990 and Article 5 of Regulation (EC) No 852/2004, is a legal requirement for all food businesses. Failure to comply with these laws can result in fines, loss of business, and even legal action.


Implementing the HACCP principles can save businesses money in the long run. By reducing the likelihood of contamination and avoiding costly product recalls, businesses can protect their bottom line and avoid financial losses.


A food safety incident can have a bad impact on a business’s reputation. By implementing the HACCP principles, companies can demonstrate their commitment to food safety and protect their brand reputation.

Customer Confidence

Customers expect the food they eat to be safe and of high quality. By implementing the HACCP principles, businesses can increase customer confidence and trust, leading to repeat business and positive word-of-mouth recommendations.

Reliable Traceability System

Implementing HACCP principles involves maintaining accurate documentation and records, which can help businesses establish a reliable traceability system in the event of a food safety issue.

Employee Responsibility

All employees are responsible for maintaining the HACCP system and ensuring that safe food handling practices are followed, which helps to minimise the risk of foodborne illnesses and protect public health.

Without a clear understanding of food safety hazards, it’s hard to establish effective controls and create a successful HACCP system. That’s why it’s important to note that food safety hazards can occur at any stage of food production, from farming and processing to transportation, storage, and preparation. 

Learn how to protect your customers from harmful bacteria and prevent foodborne illnesses by understanding high-risk foods and their associated bacteria. Check out our informative blog post “What are High Risk Foods | Types, Bacteria & Prevention” now!

Text Food Safety with medical equipment


Now, let’s closely examine the four categories of food hazards.

Food Safety Hazards

When it comes to food safety hazards, there are four main types to be aware of: 

  • physical, 
  • chemical, 
  • allergenic, 
  • and microbial. 

Physical Hazards

Physical hazards refer to the presence of non-food items in food, such as hair, feathers, bones, or even pieces of machinery. 

Chemical Hazards

Chemical hazards can contaminate food at any stage in the food production process, including —

  • farming, 
  • processing, 
  • and packaging. 

These hazards can arise from the misuse of chemicals, such as fertilisers and pesticides, or harmful chemicals in equipment after cleaning.

Allergenic Hazards

Allergenic hazards are a serious concern for those with food allergies, as even a small amount of an allergen can cause a life-threatening reaction. Therefore, it is crucial to have a system to prevent allergenic ingredients from contaminating foods stated to be allergen-free.

Microbial Contamination

Food microbial contamination is the most common cause of food poisoning and spoilage. It can happen because of various reasons, such as — 

  • incorrect food handling, 
  • not cooking a product to the correct high temperature, 
  • or poor hygiene practices. 

Now let’s delve deeper into the details of the seven HACCP principles.

Text Principles


What are the 7 HACCP Principles?

Conducting a Hazard Analysis

The first step in developing a HACCP system is crucial and can be broken down into two parts: 

  • Identifying potential hazards and 
  • Analysing those hazards. 

It’s like trying to find hidden dangers in your kitchen. You need to look at everything from the ingredients to the equipment you use and even the people who handle the food.

For example, let’s assume you own a bakery specialising in cakes. During the hazard analysis process, you would identify potential hazards such as —

  • physical hazards like hair or plastic from packaging, 
  • chemical hazards like cleaning agents or pest control chemicals, 
  • and microbial hazards like bacteria or viruses that could cause foodborne illness.

Once you’ve identified potential hazards, you need to analyse them to determine the most critical ones. For example, the likelihood of a physical hazard could be higher if you have employees who wear jewellery while handling food. And the severity of the consequences could be greater if a customer were to choke on a piece of jewellery.

By running a hazard analysis, you can take appropriate control measures to prevent or eliminate hazards from occurring. For example, you may decide to implement a policy that prohibits employees from wearing jewellery while handling food or require them to wear hair nets to prevent physical hazards. 

Discover the hidden dangers in your food and learn how to protect yourself with our informative blog on the 4 Types of Food Contamination

Identifying Critical Control Points (CCPs)

CCPs are crucial points in the production process where a control measure can be applied to prevent, eliminate, or reduce a hazard to an acceptable level. CCP identification typically occurs through a combination of —

  • scientific knowledge, 
  • experience, 
  • and historical data. 

For example, —

  • Cooking can be a CCP because it’s critical to ensure food is cooked to a high enough temperature to kill harmful bacteria. 
  • Cooling can also be a CCP because it’s vital to cool food down quickly to prevent the growth of harmful bacteria. 
  • Packaging can be a CCP because it’s crucial to ensure the packaging is clean and free from contaminants before the food is sealed inside.

 Scientists doing experimentation


Establishing Critical Limits

Once CCPs have been identified, critical limits must be established for each one. Critical limits are specific values that must be met to control the identified hazard. For example, a critical limit for cooking temperature might be 165°F for 15 seconds.

Implementing Monitoring Procedures

Monitoring involves regularly checking to ensure that the process is under control and that critical limits are being met. Monitoring procedures can include —

  • visual inspection, 
  • temperature checks, 
  • and laboratory testing.

Implementing Corrective Actions

Corrective actions must be established if a CCP is found to be out of control or a critical limit is not met. These are steps taken to bring the process back under control and prevent a potential food safety hazard. Corrective actions might include — 

  • reprocessing, 
  • dispositioning the product, 
  • or shutting down the process.

Establishing Verification Procedures

Verification and validation procedures confirm that the entire HACCP system works as intended. This involves —

  • regularly reviewing and evaluating the HACCP plan, 
  • running timely audits and inspections, 
  • and reviewing records to ensure that critical limits are being met and corrective actions are taken when necessary.

Maintaining Documentation and Records

Documentation and accurate record-keeping are essential to the success of a HACCP system. This requires keeping records and maintaining all critical control points, critical limits, monitoring results, corrective actions, verification activities, and other important information. These records provide a historical record of the HACCP system, which you can use to demonstrate compliance with food safety regulations.

Wrapping Up

To sum up, the 7 HACCP principles provide a comprehensive approach to ensuring the safety and quality of food products. HACCP principles are a legal requirement and a vital part of maintaining customer trust, protecting your business’s reputation, and avoiding costly product recalls. By following these principles, food businesses can maintain high standards of food safety and ensure the health and well-being of their customers.


What is HACCP flow chart?

A HACCP flow chart is a visual map that shows the entire process of making food products, from receiving raw materials to serving the final product. It helps identify potential hazards and critical control points to ensure food safety.

What are the 5 critical control points?

There are no specific five critical control points universally applicable to all food production processes. However, some examples of CCPs commonly used in food production include thermal processing, chilling, ingredient testing, formulation control, and metal detection.

What is critical limit in HACCP?

Critical limits must be met at critical control points (CCPs) to ensure food safety. Monitoring these limits at CCPs and taking corrective action when necessary is vital to maintain the safety and quality of food products, as per Principles 4 and 5 of the HACCP system.


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Ricky Kambray

Hey this is Ricky Kambray an award-winning first-aid trainer with over 20 years of healthcare and teaching expertise. Highly certified general nurse regularly appears in the press discussing accident prevention and first aid advice.